Collaborations, Deals

Bluebird bio dives deeper into its TCR alliance with Medigene, adding $500M in milestones and 2 new targets

Medigene headquarters in Martinsried, Germany. (Medigene)


Whatever bluebird bio $BLUE learned about Medigene’s TCR immunotherapy tech since it signed up for its initial billion-dollar discovery pact must have been impressive. The Cambridge, MA-based biotech has jumped back in for a new exploration of the intracellular targets that TCR can hit, adding two more projects to the package with another $500 million in milestones on the table.

As with most such preclinical alignments, the work starts with a small upfront and then grows with the potential — or not. Germany’s Medigene {$MDGEF; ETR: $MDG1} gets $8 million to start off the expanded deal, R&D support to grow its organization and a $1 million bonus early on. And its stock jumped 9% on the news Monday.

Philip Gregory

Back in the fall of 2016 bluebird started their T cell receptor collaboration with 4 targets. This new immunotherapy deal adds two more undisclosed targets at $250 million a pop, bringing the whole package to $1.5 billion in milestones.

The biobucks on the table underscore the potential of an emerging I/O field that has drawn GlaxoSmithKline deeper into their alliance with Adaptimmune, while Immunocore and startups like TCR2 Therapeutics have been at work here as well.

Just a few weeks ago Medigene also began its first Phase I/II study of its in-house therapy MDG1011 in blood cancers.

“As we continue to build our leadership in immuno-oncology, we value Medigene’s TCR technology platform which enables us to tackle intracellular tumor antigens not addressable by CAR Ts,” said Philip Gregory, the chief scientific officer at bluebird bio.


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